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Herbal injection linked to deaths

CHINA'S Health Ministry and drug watchdog have notified medical institutions and pharmacies around the country to stop using or selling a herbal injection that has been linked to deaths.

The shuanghuanglian injection produced by the Jiamusi branch of Wusuli River Pharmacy in northeastern China's Heilongjiang Province causes dangerous side effects and even death, said the Ministry of Health and Food and Drug Administration yesterday.

State authorities received a report from Qinghai Province on Wednesday that three patients in Datong County experienced adverse reactions after receiving the injection.

There have been several similar scandals in China in recent years.

The FDA stopped production of a ciwujia herbal injection in November, which is believed to have killed three people.

Employees of Heilongjiang Wandashan Pharmaceutical Co responsible for the fatal injection were banned from the pharmaceutical business for 10 years.

Six patients in southwestern China's Yunnan Province experienced adverse reactions after receiving the ciwujia injection. Symptoms ranged from vomiting to lapsing into a coma. Three patients died.

A fake drug dealer, Wang Guiping, was sentenced to life in prison in September.

Wang was responsible for 14 deaths from injections prepared with fake ingredients used in a Guangzhou hospital from April 2006.

Wang bought one ton of the drug diglycol, which can cause kidney failure, to pass off as a legal medical ingredient when he sold it to Qiqihar No. 2 Pharmaceutical Co Ltd in September 2005.

The company used the diglycol to make the drugArmillarisni A in March 2006. That batch of drugs was sold to Guangdong Province where 64 patients received the injections and 14 died.

Victims of the fake drug scandal were awarded 3.51 million yuan (US$513,500) in compensation in June last year by a district court in Guangzhou, which said both Qiqihar No. 2 Pharmaceutical Co Ltd and the No. 3 Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou also held responsibility.

That scandal and other food and drug safety problems prompted the government to launch a crackdown on fake drugs and tighten rules on food and drug management.


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